Minister Louis Farrakhan among those invited to speak at private memorial service
Legendary broadcast journalist Gil Noble will be laid to rest at one of Harlem’s most prominent churches in what will be a “celebration” of his life.
A private service for Noble, who began hosting “Like It Is” on Ch. 7/WABC in 1968, will be held at Abyssinian Baptist Church on Friday, where many of his colleagues, friends and former TV guests will remember the pioneering black journalist.
The list of invited speakers for the funeral was not readily available but includes “Like It Is” guest and Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Daily News has learned.
The Rev. Calvin Butts, who will officiate the service, said he knew Noble very well and also made numerous appearances on the weekly public affairs program, which focused on black affairs, politics, music and culture.
“It will really be a celebration of a life well-lived,” Butts said. “He made tremendous contributions, in terms of a journalist, to the struggles of the people of African descent.”
Noble, who suffered a debilitating stroke last summer that forced him to leave his TV show, died April 5. He was 80.
“He was a heavy endorser of our culture,” Butts said, noting Noble’s love for jazz.
Noble served on the board of the Jazz Foundation of America, often hosting the foundation’s annual “Great Night in Harelm” benefits.
He profiled Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the first black congressman from New York, interviewed area residents and business owners along W. 125th St., and discussed the neighborhood’s history and future.
Councilwoman Inez Dickens said Noble “took great care in guarding our history. He struck down false myths and told the truth about black life in America and beyond.”
Butts said he also got to know Noble beyond the popular show.
He had dinner at the Noble home and officiated at the wedding of Noble’s daughter.
“He was a great man,” Butts said. “I’m going to celebrate his life. . . . We’re working on preserving his work.”
The public viewing for Noble will be held at Abyssinian Baptist Church, W. 138th St., on Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. The private funeral is set for Friday at 10 a.m.
Instead of flowers, the family has asked that donations be sent to the Gil Noble Archives, P.O. Box 43138, Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043.
Proceeds will be used to preserve the broadcaster’s archives, to continue Noble’s mission of educating the community about its culture and history.